Angiogenic effect of saponin extract from Panaxnotoginseng on HUVECs in vitro and zebrafishin vivo

Author(s): Hong SJ, Wan JB, Zhang Y, Hu G, Lin HC, et al.


Angiogenesis plays an important role in a wide range of physiological processes such as wound healing and fetal development. In fact, many diseases are associated with imbalance in the regulation of angiogenesis in which there is either excessive or insufficient blood vessel formation. Panax notoginseng, a blood circulation invigorating herb, is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat circulation-related diseases. However, the biological effects of saponin extract from Panax notoginseng (PNS) on angiogenesis and the underlying mechanisms are yet to be fully elucidated. This investigation describes the angiogenic effects of PNS on human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) in vitro and zebrafish in vivo. The 2,3-bis(2-methoxy-4-nitro-5-sulfophenyl)5[(phenylamino)carbonyl]2H-tetrazolium hydroxide (XTT) assay and microscopic cell counting demonstrated that the extract was able to stimulate the proliferation of HUVECs. Meanwhile, the numbers of invaded cells and tube branches were significantly increased in PNS treatment groups. PNS was also shown to promote changes in the subintestinal vessels, a feature of angiogenesis, in zebrafish. In addition, by using real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR), PNS was found to enhance vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and kinase-domain region/fetal liver kinase-1 in mice (KDR/Flk-1) mRNA expression, and the PNS-induced HUVECs proliferation could be abolished by a KDR/Flk-1 inhibitor. Furthermore, the proliferation of HUVECs induced by PNS was significantly attenuated by inhibitors of PI3K-Akt-eNOS. All the results suggest that PNS can promote angiogenesis, and that the proangiogenic effects involve the VEGF-KDR/Flk-1 and PI3K-Akt-eNOS signaling pathways.

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